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The Resurgence of the NFC East

NFC East

To quote Mark Sanchez while calling the Giants v. Packers game, “They went from NFC Least to NFC Beast!” The NFC East division is an impressive 14-6 and keep in mind that the Commanders’ 1-4 record skews those numbers. Still, this is the strongest division to date through five weeks.

Last 3 seasons (2021, 2020, 2019, respectively) by team in NFC East: 

Dallas Cowboys: 12-5, 6-10, 8-8

Obviously, the Cowboys have not emerged out of a lowly hollow quite like two other division opponents. Being that they were a 12-5 team and NFC East champs in 2021, they are exactly what we assumed they would be: a competitor in the NFC.

No one expected to lose Dak Prescott in the very first game of the season be up against rivals New York Giants (4-1) and Philadelphia Eagles (5-0) who are thriving. Next guy up Cooper Rush has done a serviceable job protecting the football despite a banged-up offensive line.  He has not been spectacular though as Rush has not led the Cowboys’ offense to more than 25 points in any of his five starts. However, he continues to win! There will be no QB controversy in Dallas once Dak is healthy. Period.

Dallas’ defense has not allowed more than 19 points in any game this season which has surely contributed to their Dak-less success. Fun fact: Head Coach Mike McCarthy has only had a top-five defense ONCE in his head coaching career and that was in 2010 which happened the be the year he helped lead the Packers to win a Super Bowl.

Philadelphia Eagles: 9-8, 4-11, 9-7

Aside from a disastrous 2020 season with only four wins, the Eagles have been your classic mediocre team. In January 2021 after the dust had settled, the Eagles snagged Nick Sirianni from Indianapolis where he served as Frank Reich’s OC. This was when their team renovation would begin.

Philadelphia’s 2021 regular season ended with a generous record of 9-8, but there were many issues to be addressed.  The team did make a quick appearance in the postseason, but lost to the Buccaneers in the Wild Card round and found themselves flying back home to a frustrated city.

Some key additions before the season:

Jalen Hurts has made incredible strides and, as a result, is gaining respect as a legitimate quarterback in this league. The scrambling quarterback has improved in all areas of leading his offense.

2022 Jalen Hurts stats to date:
  • 67.9% completion percentage
  • 97.4 QBR
  • 271.8 yards per game

What’s most impressive does not only show up on stat lines: his confidence and leadership.  The former Alabama star has carried himself impressively through growing pains, new coaching staff, and many new faces in the locker room. Hurts continues to wiggle between spots in the top five for MVP odds this year.                                                                                                                            

The next four games should yield some cautious optimism as the Eagles will face the Cowboys, Steelers, Texans and Commanders. Their bye is also tacked in at week seven following their divisional matchup against Dallas.

New York Giants: 4-13, 6-10, 4-12

The New York Football Giants may have forged the biggest glow-up in this resurging division. Standing tough at 4-1 and coming off a royal win over Green Bay in London, this team highlights what clever coaching can accomplish for a team that was once written off. 

Head Coach Brian Daboll seems to be the real deal. He is taking an injured and (formerly) underachieving roster and making wine out of water. Adjustments at the half. Coming together on both sides of the ball. Creative schemes.  He is putting all of the pieces together.

To the folks who say they are the worst 4-1 team, beware. Records don’t always tell the full story, but they do give enough of a clue. It’s difficult to win in this league, but ‘any given Sunday’ seems especially relevant this year where most teams are waffling in mediocrity. 

Giants all-star back Saquon Barkley has recovered from his 2020 ACL tear and then some. He is back in Saquon form and no open lanes are safe on any field.  The 2018 Rookie of the Year award recipient currently leads the NFL in yards from scrimmage.  Daniel Jones, though not on pace to break any records or win MVP, is being put in the best possible situations to get the job done.

We would be remiss not to recognize the remarkable job that Wink Martindale is doing on their defense. New York’s D has not allowed more than 22 points this season and really that number is 20 due to a deliberate safety in the Green Bay game. His blitz packages and third-down defense has been tremendous. Perhaps the disrespectful chatter is just what they need to push ahead down the stretch.

Washington Commanders: 7-10, 7-9, 3-13

This franchise just continues to evoke face palms from both fans and casual viewers alike. There seems to be mismanagement of this organization for as long as I can remember watching football. The revolving door of head coaches and quarterbacks that have just not had success is incredible.

Washington the last 30 years:

  • Head coaches: 11
  • Starting quarterbacks: 34
  • 194-276 record

Echoing my article on coaching hot seats, Ron Rivera is now catching heat for throwing quarterback Carson Wentz under the bus in a press conference after week five and moving to 1-4. He will almost certainly be the next coach to be sent packing.

There is a HUGE game featuring Dallas and Philly on Sunday night that has the whole league watching. While Dak does not appear he will be taking snaps at Lincoln Financial, the Parsons-led Dallas D looks to give Hurts his first major test.

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